SEA ISLAND, Ga. — Kyle Jones, a senior from Baylor University who was one of 16 players selected by the United States to participate in a Walker Cup practice session a month ago on the Georgia Coast, is making his case to make the team for good with a first-round 68 at the Jones Cup Invitational.
The Arizona native leads future Arkansas Razorback Austin Connelly by three and Florida State's Hank Lebioda by four in one of the strongest amateur fields of the year.
"The wind has been blowing all day so it was tough for everybody," Jones told Golfweek. "The course is hard enough as it is, so I try not to over-complicate things."
Jones won last year's Southwestern Amateur and reached the round-of-16 at the U.S. Amateur.
Playing Ocean Forest Golf Club, just two players — Jones and Connelly — broke par in Friday's opening round thanks to the tough conditions. Notable players inside the top-20 include No. 1-ranked amateur Corey Conners of Canada, who is one of a remarkable 15 players tied for fourth place at one-over 73.
Conners is the defending champion and already has a win to his name in 2015, capturing Australia's Lake Macquarie Amateur two weeks ago.
Among the 14 others tied at 73 are 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Byron Meth, 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur winner Scott Harvey, and 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur champ Will Zalatoris.
Harvey is also off to a good start in 2015, having just arrived back in the United States after winning last week's South American Amateur in Lima, Peru.
Follow AmateurGolf.com for coverage of the Jones Cup, and follow the link below for complete scores from round one.